It can be difficult to understand the White House’s agenda and strategy when it comes to foreign policy and foreign relations. But one thing is clear, President Trump promised to "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) and put "America first" during his run for president, and with that, bring back jobs. America just didn’t know he meant jobs for China.

Sunday (May 13) Trump tweeted that he had to work on bringing jobs back to China because too many were being “lost.” This is all due to the recent sanctions placed on ZTE, a large Chinese tech firm close to President Xi, according to Politico and CNN reports.

So one can only wonder what Trumpians are to think when the President of the United States all but pledges to get jobs back for the Chinese, when there are still so many Americans out of work, regardless of the current unemployment rate the White House keeps touting.

What happened?

Politico, CNN and the Washington Post all reported that the US Department of Commerce sanctioned the company earlier this year by placing a seven-year ban on their products and fined ZTE nearly $1.2 billion. The ban precludes the phone company from purchasing American parts; parts that are a necessity to their product production. Within those sanctions, US companies are also not allowed to sell to ZTE.

All of this is a hefty price tag for the company and a ding to the Chinese economy.

Lying and spying?

According to CNN's Chief Correspondent Jim Sciutto, ZTE violated US rules by doing business with North Korea and Iran by selling American electronics and parts, and then lied about violating those sanctions. But there is a deeper issue here.

This isn’t just selling our products to those who we aren’t friends with, it’s also about what the ZTE cellular products are capable of - products that are now in the hands of their other friends, the North Koreans, and Iranians.

At a publicly televised congressional hearing on Feb 13, the heads of six intelligence departments told Congress that they would not use ZTE devices because the cellular phones and other electronic devices that the company produces has counter espionage concerns and surveillance capabilities. That’s right, the phones are susceptible to hacking and spying capabilities by the Chinese government.

None of the chiefs from the US intelligence agencies said they would recommend ZTE devices to American citizens because of those security reasons which could ultimately put our country at a national security risk. There's just one problem with the non-recommendation, many Americans already own some type of ZTE device.

According to CNN reports, the Chinese telecom company ZTE is the fourth best selling cell phone in the US, with over 55 million phones sold here since 2013.

Kiss and make up?

Now that ZTE has been mightily fined and sanctioned, China would like Trump to lift those sanctions, and allow the sale of necessary hardware and components to ZTE because without them ZTE would go out of business and many Chinese would lose their jobs, reported CNN.

So, Trump tweeted on Sunday (May 13) expressing his concern that there were “too many jobs in China lost" and basically told America he would save ZTE. The president said he directed Secretary Ross, the secretary of commerce, to look into the issue and “get it done,” meaning find a solution to China's problem.

This rhetoric is in contradiction to his campaign promises and flies in the face of the sanctions placed on the Chinese tech firm. The tweet left both sides of the aisle scratching their heads asking what happened to ‘America first?’


Americans wondered if this bold proclamation to save jobs in China has anything to do with the upcoming summit with North Korea? After all, the POTUS needs China’s support with North Korea.

This was one of the early theories of Americans and CNN political analysts who tried to figure out why Trump is trying to save China. But that theory would prove to be wrong.

Monday afternoon (May 14) in what seemed to be a clarification tweet, the president explained that this move to help save Chinese jobs is part of a larger part of trade talks with China. He suggested that perhaps a sale of just components to ZTE is something that could be considered which was a sentiment echoed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, according to reports from the Associated Press.

1st place?

Helping people is just dandy but where does this leave everyday Americans who now know they are or have been, potentially exposed to security risks with their ZTE phones and devices?

What about the farmers who are struggling because of tariff proposals and challenges with China? And what about those still without jobs here in the US despite the 3.9 percent unemployment rate? Doesn't the POTUS have enough problems and questions to answer, especially with pending lawsuits, Cohen and the Russia investigation?

As Trump and his new friend President Xi work together on a joint plan to lift or go around US government sanctions in order to rescue Chinese jobs, what happens to America? And even if they do find an "alternative" to the sanctions and evade over a billion dollars in fines, the problem wouldn’t go away. The situation would just get a whole lot messier

As for now, Trump has promised to intervene to help the Chinese company stay in business. And it is expected that America will push back on his decision and ask who he is putting first - America or China?